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Offensive Woes Continue for Bolts
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Some will blame the rain and 44-degree temperature. Some will blame a lack of chemistry between quarterback Philip Rivers and his receivers. But for the second game this season, the Chargers did not score a touchdown in a game. And the offensive struggles do not stop there. San Diego has not scored a touchdown in six consecutive quarters.
Against the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football,” the Chargers scored 24 points in the first half to jump out to a 24-0 lead. After halftime, San Diego gained only 132 yards and committed five turnovers as they fell 35-24.
In Cleveland, turnovers were not the storyline as the Browns beat the Chargers, 7-6.
“Obviously, each game is totally different than this,” Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. “I can’t relate this game to either of the last two games we played. This was a totally different situation.”
Against the 27th-ranked defense in the NFL, the Chargers gained only 265 total yards and were unable to find the end zone in poor weather conditions. But it was not because of a lack of opportunities. San Diego was twice inside Cleveland’s 25-yard line and twice settled for Nick Novak field goals.
With less than two minutes to go in the first half, the Chargers were driving and had a second-and-five at Cleveland’s 17-yard line after Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates for a five-yard reception. With the clock winding down, Rivers spiked the ball to bring up third down. On third down, Rivers’ pass was tipped and caught by right tackle Jerome Clary for a loss of eight yards. San Diego would use its third timeout of the game and settle for a 43-yard field goal by Nick Novak.
Midway through the third quarter, San Diego had a 1st-ad-10 at Cleveland’s 18-yard line. After a loss of six yards on a Robert Meachem end-around run, Rivers would throw an incomplete pass and an 11-yard reception to running back Ronnie Brown to bring up fourth down. Again, Novak would boot the 31-yarder through as the Chargers trailed 7-6.
Dropped passes were also a problem for the Chargers against the Browns - the most notable by Meachem in the third quarter. On a third-and-nine, Rivers found a wide open Meachem over the middle of the field for what would have been an easy 51-yard touchdown. The ball was dropped and the Chargers were forced to punt.
“I thought, throughout that game, we had opportunities,” Turner said. “We had our hands on the ball offensively. We had our hands on the ball defensively. We had opportunities to make some plays that could have changed the outcome. Right now as a team, we’re just not able to do that. I don’t think it’s a lack of effort. I thought our guys competed; I thought they stayed in it. We’re just coming up short.”
For Brown, the answer is simple: the team needs to perform at a higher level.
“We just got to be better as a football team,” he said. “We all know where we’re at. We all realize our position on this football team. This is a time where we need to come together, put all the differences aside, pull in as a group and be better as a football team.”
That opportunity will come sooner than most weeks as the Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium. Read